If you have a gun that shoots 1 MOA and a scope with enough elevation, making a first-round hit at 1,000 yards isn’t all that hard. But you need to have the variables—especially the wind—in your favor.
There are plenty of off-the-shelf rifles you can use. Bolt guns from Remington, Savage, and others can all easily meet the 1 MOA standard. You can pick just about any caliber, but a .308 shooting a match load with a 168- or 175-grain bullet is pretty much the benchmark. There’s no need to get fancy.
For the scope, you need a 30mm model with target turrets and a reticle with marks for elevation and windage.
The wind is way more of a factor than anything else. You need to be able to read what it is doing at your location, down by the target, and in between. A wind meter will tell you what’s going on at your location. And this is the most important reading, because the deflection in the first part of the bullet’s path will have the most effect downrange.
To read the wind downrange, look at the telltale signs. A breeze that is moving the grass is about 5 mph. Rustling leaves is about 8 mph. Swaying branches indicates a 10 to 15 mph wind.
A good spotting scope will help you read mirage. Focus on the target and then back it off so the scope is focused on the wind. The wavier the lines, the less wind there is. Tighter lines mean more wind. You just have to practice to develop a feel for mirage.
The most common mistake here is a bad position. You’ve got to get straight behind the rifle and set up a solid rest. Not only will a bad position throw your first shot off, but if you aren’t right behind the rifle, you won’t be able to see where your shot goes so you can make a correction. At this point, you’re just guessing. I got good at making first-round hits by watching my misses.
Take extra time to set up a shot. Use a quality bipod and rear bag to support the stock. If you’re not stable, the hit probability is low. Taking a few extra seconds to get solid, whether hunting or at a match, is worth it for any long shot. There’s no advantage in rushing.
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